Introducing Milk to 1 Year Old

Updated on October 03, 2009
J.S. asks from Bothell, WA
9 answers

Hello Mommies,

I have a question about whole milk. I have just started to introduce whole milk to my DD. She is EBF and eats about three meals a day. (Yeah, right....on a good day :)) Anyway, I was wondering, does anyone know how long the cow's milk can stay in her cup for her to work on? I only give her about a 1/4 cup at a time and she usually takes about three or four sips before she doesn't want anymore. Can I put the rest in the fridge for later? What if we are out, how long can she hang on to the cup? She doesn't seem interested in the milk right now, so I'm just taking baby steps with her. Any info or advice is greatly apprecaited.

Thanks so much!!

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Thank you everyone who responded. I really appreciate the feedback, it was very helpful. Thanks again!!

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answers from Anchorage on

To get my boys drinking milk, I stopped giving them formula. That being said, I did it slowly. The first couple of days I used 3/4 formula (or breast milk), and only 1/4 milk. I then slowly increased the milk and decreased the formula over a couple of weeks.

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answers from Seattle on


I remember reading somewhere that milk bought at the store is good for about a day if left on the counter at room temp. I would think that that is the same for milk in a sippy cup. And, yes you can put the cup back in the fridge at home when she's done with it. I did, and still do with both of my kids when they don't drink everything in their cups.

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answers from Medford on

I have absolutely no scientific facts to back this up, but ... I used to get an espresso (mostly milk) on my way to work every morning and if I got busy with meetings it would sometimes take me a couple of hours to finish it. So I always figured a couple hours was fine (out running errands) in an air conditioned car. If it was hot out then obviously that might not work. Or if it was just out for a little but at home I would put it back in the fridge. But I probably wouldn't put the same cup in and out of the fridge all day.



answers from Seattle on

My girls are exclusively breastfed (EBF) as well. My youngest is too young for cow milk yet, but my oldest does drink it sometimes. As long as yours is nursing and hydrated, don't worry about her not drinking much cow milk since she doesn't need it nutritionally. There are insulated cups (available at Target and BRU at least) that will keep the milk colder. I'd give those a try for when you're out and about. We don't take cow milk out of the house, but friends who do really like the insulated cup. At home, we do put the same cup in and out of the fridge all day. We don't use a cup for more than one day, so anything that's not drank over the course of the day, my husband drinks before going to bed. Keep up the good work of breastfeeding your little girl! :)



answers from Portland on

Introducing milk slowly is best. Many kids have a reaction the first few times they drink regular milk. If you can add milk to some expressed BM and gradually increase the amount every few days, that would decrease the chance of a reaction.

BTW - most reactions are diaper rash and the "runs".



answers from Eugene on

Hi J.,

I'm not sure I know what "EBF" stands for, but I wanted to respond. First, I am continuously amazed at the concept in the US that we "must" get our children on whole milk--or any cow's milk. I am not against cow's milk, I personally love it and grew up in an area of the country where dairy cows were very common, as they are along the coast here. I eat probably more dairy than is healthy for me. But that does not make it nutritionally necessary for me or for any baby!
We humans make milk that is the perfect food for our developing infants and, yes, our toddlers. It is nothing like cow's milk--and so if we are trying to offer a substitute nutritionally for human milk or for artificial milk (commonly known as "formula"), then we can look instead at what we are specifically trying to do nutritionally for the child.
Are you looking to increase her protein intake?
Non-cow's milk alternatives that are easier to digest:
-goat's milk
-soy milk (not to be used all the time)
-almond milk (yum!)
-mashed or whole beans with rice
-mashed tofu with avocado (my eldest daughter's favorite "first food")

Is it fats?
-nut milks
-cooked veggies with olive oil

Is it for the comfort of a bottle?
-nut milks
-goat's milk
-juice with water (not at nap or bed time)

You get the idea...if she doesn't really go for milk, there is nothing "magic" about 12 months for a baby that means she has to! Her digestive system didn't suddenly change. Her personality and likes/dislikes didn't either.

Let her lead the way and add things as it feels right, but know that there are many alternatives to the "American Way" to do things--especially since these things have changed every 5 years or so.



answers from Portland on

My daughter just turned 1 a week ago and she is EBF as well. We tried whole milk last week and she played with it a little, but she would only drink 1 maybe 2 ounces.

We totally cheated and added a tiny bit of vanilla flavoring just to get her interested. She gulped the bottle down and has started taking a 4 ounce bottle several times per day within the last week! I now only BF early in the morning.

We have stopped putting the flavoring in, and she still drinks it. I didn't ever think she would drink anything other than my breastmilk and certainly not from a bottle (we tried the bottle for the past 6 months with no luck until now).

I say try anything just to get her interested. I hold her like I was feeding her, otherwise she would just shake the bottle and play with it. Just keep at it and try different cups (sippy, straw cup, bottle, etc.).



answers from Portland on

I was going to mention vanilla--I see Heather beat me to it. My kids sometimes still ask for "vanillamilk." We don't drink milk, except a vanilla milk treat occasionally; I use the lactose-free organic stuff in my cooking (I was SEVERELY lactose intolerant for a long time and breastfed for a long time ... I never had milk around ... although cheese and ice cream, for my then-husband were also available to the kids :) ).

The "throw away food that has been left out for two hours" is the CDC(?) recommendation based on people getting sick from picnic foods (which (1) usually are in warm environments and (2) usually have large germ exposure). I'd say milk in a sippycup, particularly if she is carrying it (so, 90+ degrees), meets both high-growth-rate germ criteria ;).

That said, I used to be freaky about throwing everything away that had been left on my counter more than a couple of hours (a lot of the year my house is 65 degrees, and most of the items in question had been boiled and then only been touched by a serving utensil ... really, very low risk) ... and then my then-husband visited His Cousin the Famous Doctor and testified upon arriving home that their family (also of many kids) would leave dinner or even lunch from the day before on the counter and then eat it the next morning. This rocked my hyper-worried world ... but I am more relaxed and realistic now ;).

Obviously, I Am Not A Doctor and this should not be construed as medical advice ;) ... and frankly we do occasionally get bouts of food poisoning (although I don't think any much more than we got back under my old rules ;) ) ... but logically, if you've killed all the bacteria (all storebought milk 'should' be sterile or nearly so) and haven't introduced significant new bacteria (don't open the container and then later shake the milk, for instance, and don't drink from the carton ;) ), it should take quite a while for newly poured milk to gather and then grow a significant population of bacteria.

Back into the fridge: food safety experts probably scream no, but again, logic applies. Putting it in the fridge slows but does not half whatever bacteria growth is going on. So, if she's had it for five minutes, you're good. If she's had it in her warm hands for an hour and 45, you probably aren't going to get effective storage (bacteria inhibition).



answers from Portland on

I'm sure others have said this, but since you are nursing she really doesn't need milk. If you are wanting to wean her, you may want to start with soy milk. A lot of babies at 1yr are still sensative to cow's milk. Is it possible that it upsets her tummy and that's why she isn't interested?
Soy milk has different flavors and you can certainly try flavoring the cow's milk. Do you heat it up a little? A lot of times, kids who are nursing don't like to drink cold things. Just make sure you mix it well so there are no hot spots!

Good luck!

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